As you see the words ‘demand generation’ you’re probably thinking, “Wait a minute. Won’t the Marketing Team be helping me in this?”
When it comes to demand generation, collaboration between marketing and sales is key – as a salesperson, you need to be well acquainted with the concept so you can do justice to your part in it.
What is Demand Generation?
Just as it sounds, demand generation focuses on the generation of demand for your business’ products or services. While that sounds awfully close to lead generation, it’s not quite the same.
Demand Generation vs Lead Generation
It is easy to get mixed up between lead generation and demand generation.
The process of lead generation involves the marketing team using paid & organic methods to generate as many leads as possible for the business, which they then pass on to the sales team to qualify.
You could even face a situation where most of the leads simply don’t qualify for sales.
With demand generation, the marketing and sales teams work together – first identifying ideal prospective clients, who may or may not even know they have a need for your product/service.
The process then involves targeting and nurturing those prospective clients until they become leads, sales qualified prospects and then customers. Hence, for demand generation, sales and marketing teams have to work together.
Why Resort to Demand Generation?
As you might have guessed from the discussion above, demand generation is a lengthier process than lead generation and requires more collaboration and collective effort as well.
However, you do end up with prospects that are sales qualified, saving all the time and effort of sorting through lead lists for quality prospects.
With those basics in place, let’s move into the how of the concept.
What Sort of Activities Does the Strategy Include?
Since demand generation involves working closely with marketing, the first step of the process will be taken by the marketing team before you come in on behalf of sales.
Here’s a list of some demand generation activities and how they are split between the two teams-
Creates lead generation touchpoints (such as newsletter sign ups on the website)
Step in to help create the right nurturing flow and consequent emails that will encourage the lead to move further down the sales funnel
Identify satisfied customers that would be willing to refer your products/services to their friends & family, and reach out to them via call or email – offering an incentive always acts as motivation, even when you don’t expect it to!
Steps aside for this one 😊 Once you get the details of people referred by your customers, you can simply reach out to them via call or email directly…no marketing required, just good old convincing on your part!
Creates a lot of content – blog posts, videos, reports, guides, and more – and puts it out in front of audiences likely to be prospects. This content acts as a hook to draw in leads that may or may not be qualified for sales.
Your role should start right from the web form – hold a discussion with the marketing team and the put in your requests for any form fields that may help more easily qualify leads at the outset. Then, create a nurturing flow for leads.
1. Give the marketing team insight into satisfied customers’ demographics & traits that will help them target exactly the right audiences online (perhaps with lookalike targeting)
2. Create a lead scoring system, lead nurturing flow, drip for emails, SMSes/Whatsapps, etc.to be sent leads as the marketing team generates them.
Uses your insights from existing customer to run a highly targeted campaign and bring you targeted leads. Where there aren’t any existing customer details, the team will use industry insights and hypotheses to target highly likely audiences and bring you qualified leads.
What Skill-sets Does One Need for It?
1. An Understanding of How Marketing Works
You don’t need to be a marketing expert, but you need to understand the scope and basics of marketing activities so you can be more involved in the process and get better results.
2. An Understanding of Data and Analytics
Understanding engagement data and customer data is a must successful demand generation. You will be closing the loop with feedback and analysis of the leads you nurture, which puts your analytic thinking front and center.
3. Collaboration & Teamwork
Forget the old stereotypical competitiveness, when it comes to demand generation, marketing and sales need to work hand in hand. In this case, for you to make a commission or hit your goals you need to work with a team.
4. An Eagerness for Experimentation
There’s no straight cut formula to demand generation, just as there’s no straight cut formula to sales. While the marketing team will be doing most of the heavy lifting, to begin with, you need to go in with ideas and experiments that will bring you more SQLs.
5. A Customer-Centric Mindset
This is something that’s needed in any sales or marketing role, but all the more for demand generation, when you’re constantly trying to predict and shape the buying journey and nurture leads into sales.
How Do You Get Started With Such an Initiative?
Demand generation includes lead generation, brand building, campaign strategy, inbound marketing, and sales. So, keep in mind that implementing such initiatives is a business decision – it requires top-down approval, resource planning, budgeting and accountability.
Here’s the team you need for a successful demand generation strategy-
- A manager – that handles the collaboration and pulls together sales & marketing.
- A strategist – to strategize the campaigns and activities, keep a tab on analytics.
- A creative team – a copywriter and a designer at the least.
- A campaign specialist – to run paid campaigns.
- A marketing technologist – or marketing technology such as a CRM.
- A sales team – a sales lead and sales executives to handle the segue of responsibility from marketing to sales, provide sales analytics, nurture leads and help constantly improve the quality of leads with insights.
If you’re in a leadership position in sales, you’re in a great position to talk to the management about adopting a collaborative demand generation approach.
Remember, while a lot of the ownership will still lie with the marketing, it’s your & your team’s involvement that truly determines success and sets it apart from the usual lead generation activities.
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